Don’t call it comeback, it’s been here for years…full-fat dairy, that is.
Lambasted for its calorie density and saturated fat content, whole milk and yogurt are rebuilding their apocryphal image as healthy options compared to low-fat and skim alternatives.
“Back in the fat-phobic 1990s, the mainstream advice from health agencies and health professionals was to cut back on fat throughout the diet, including fat from dairy products like milk,” explains Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color.
As more people gravitated towards fat-free and low-fat options, manufacturers began adding more sugar and artificial ingredients to make them taste better. This led to a single serving of fruit yogurt containing a day’s worth of sugar, for example.
These milk alternatives aren’t just full of added sugars – they also lactose (heh) the health benefits of full-fat dairy, Largeman-Roth says.
“Surprisingly, full-fat dairy products may actually help you stick to a healthy weight,”says Largeman-Roth.
“Other studies have found that kids who drank whole milk had higher blood levels of vitamin D compared to their peers who drank low-fat milk,” Largeman-Roth adds. “The researchers think milk fat may help kids’ bodies absorb vitamin D more efficiently.”
Luckily, times are a changing, and thanks to trendy foods like avocados, there’s no reason to fear healthy fats . And while some won’t steer from eating plain, non-fat yogurt to avoid saturated fats and adding their own sources of good fats like nuts and seeds, you should opt for the full-fat version every once in a while.
“Both are good choices, but organic whole milk dairy products have the added advantage of being higher in omega-3 fatty acids as well as conjugated linoleic acid, which is helpful for maintaining a healthy weight and may help manage type 2 diabetes,” adds Largeman-Roth.
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